Yesterday’s Post Improved!
Should Professional Women Ever Get Married?
While this study has been criticized on both methodological and philosophical grounds, I believe it points out legitimate challenges faced by women in the professional world. One might expect that in the supposedly more liberal culture of higher education that there would be more income equality. However, as this study illustrates, women face hurdles in the academic world that men do not, or more accurately: Women face hurdles that men don’t.
Sadly, as multiple studies have pointed out, women continue to be paid less and promoted at a slower rate in virtually every professional field.
It is important that the issue is being discussed in the public forum. Pretending that things are better or, worse, not even acknowledging the problem would absolutely ensure continuation of current practices. Successful sexism has always relied on a practiced acceptance of the status quo. Acknowledging a problem, recognizing it, is the first step in action.
The first question of our analysis: Do we want professional women to get married? The current statistics seem to indicate that we, as a society, do not expect professional women to get married. Conversely, some would see these numbers as action of the free market, and suggest that delaying or avoiding marriage is a natural phenomenon. Since every last detail of the problem is a human creation, I find free market naturalism- treating humanity like a slightly more sophisticated herd of wildebeests, a ridiculous assertion. What humans have created, humans can change. At its heart, this question is flawed. We already know that people can do well in society married or unmarried. Does encouraging formalized relationships make this nation a better place? There are good reasons to have doubts but the question is a difficult one. A question more subject to analysis: Do we want professional women to have children?
I believe that raising children to adulthood is a critical factor in the success of a nation. I think highly educated women are likely to make better than average parents. One of the basic tenets of Western Civilization is that education produces a more developed human being. The most used phrase in regard to this development is “well rounded.” Certainly this is the case with the academic women I know. If we value the child rearing quality of women, then we as a society should not penalize women for having children.
Employers tend to see women with children much like an employee who has a chronic disease. They don’t like giving maternity leave. They don’t like employees having to leave early or miss days due to children’s needs. They don’t like people who don’t make their work first and foremost in their lives. Children imply an emphasis on relationships as opposed to ambition and money making.
Men have an advantage over women in that raising children imposes no physical changes on them. Men neither carry children or are entertained by the hormonal changes accompanying the process. However, the actual period when women are unable to work is generally only a few days. The chief difference between a working married man and a working married woman is that when they have children, only one bears the chief responsibility for child care.
We have a vision of a good mother as one who sacrifices her career and much else for her children. Why don’t we expect fathers to give up the same things? We don’t because we don’t believe they should. The man is the breadwinner. The woman provides support from the background doing the routine tasks of child care and provides the power behind the throne. That’s our mythology – Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best.
But reality has power too. We don’t live in that world anymore, and it’s not coming back. Women work. They have to. But social expectations haven’t changed. They still do the bulk of the housework, child rearing and a host of routine maintenance tasks. That’s not right but changes in the economy are only slowly being recognized culturally.
But we can change our culture. We can begin with laws. We can do this through subsidized and regulated, professional day care. We can do this through paid leave. We can do this by giving up stigmatizing single mothers and divorced women. The practice of slut shaming has outlived its purpose, keeping women in their place and regulating their sexuality. We can do better.
Women in this generation cannot escape the social pressures that serve to diminish their professional lives. But we make a new world every day. It is possible to create a world where professional parity is achieved. Maybe I won’t see it. Maybe the current generation won’t see it, and maybe the one after that won’t either. However, we can lay the foundation here and now. We are not helpless. We have the power to recognize and battle inequality.
Hope and action are not contradictory. The time for change is now.
Female economists penalized for getting married, married men rewarded.
According to a study that was presented earlier this month at the American Economic Association, women (who make up about a third of Ph.D students in economics) who got married in the first five years after they received their Ph.D.s had a 23 percent salary growth penalty—in other words, their salaries grew much more slowly— compared with their unmarried female counterparts. Men who got married in the half decade after they got their doctorates? They received a 25 percent salary growth bump—their salaries grew by a larger margin—compared to other men. Wendy Stock, a co-author of the study and a professor of economics at Montana State University, said in an email that among female economists, the penalty for having children was not statistically significant. “In addition, our estimates didn’t indicate that the impact of having a child was any different for males than for females,” Stock wrote. (If Ph.D. candidates have children while still in graduate school, they take longer to complete their studies, regardless of gender).
From around the web.
From the web site, Don’t Marry Career Women.
Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don’t marry a woman with a career.
Why? Because if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage. While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women–even those with a “feminist” outlook–are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.
From the web site, Lov-o-nomics.
Why Professional Women Marry Late
“The timing of a first marriage is related to the attractiveness of the alternatives to marrying. When women value roles that provide viable alternatives to the role of wife, they delay marriage.”
(Allen, S. M. & Kalish, R. A. (1984). Professional women and marriage. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 46(5), 375-382.)
Dr de Bergerac is interested in this topic because she witnesses so many professional, attractive, intelligent women who are single and say they don’t want to be. They thrive in their careers, yet they do not seem to find The One. And those who do, do it much later than the population average. Why?
The scientific answer seems to be: they also have better things to do than the population average. If a date competes with a project at work that is fulfilling, bodes success and a higher income – then the date better be at least as fulfilling, easy-to-present-to-others, and liquid. Of course work and relationships fulfill different needs – but they also compete for the same, scarce resource: time. Professional women have less time and higher demands for relationships, given their alternative options. Both together are likely to keep them single.